An armed assault and murder took place outside of one of Thailand’s most revered fighting arenas.
Bangkok News reported that a Muay Thai official was assaulted outside of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium by two armed men on Friday. A security guard was shot and killed by the assailants after he tried to intervene.
That outlet stated that Udom Deekrachang, 59, was standing outside the entrance of Lumpinee – on Ram Intra Road – at around 1pm when the initial attack occurred. Bangkok News further stated that Udom was due to judge a fight at Lumpinee that day. The Nation, an English-language Thai news outlet, differed from Bangkok News in stating that Udom was scheduled to referee that day.
Both outlets agree that Udom, shortly after he arrived at the stadium in a pick-up truck, was approached by one of two men who were waiting on a motorcycle nearby. According to police investigators, the approaching man began beating Udom with a wooden baton, striking him in the head and torso.
Udom attempted to flee from his attacker and that’s when Anucha Prathumma – who Bangkok News reported as being 50-years-old and The Nation reported as being 24-years-old – attempted to intervene. When Anucha approached he was killed by a single gunshot to the chest. The shot was allegedly fired from the man who had remained on the motorcycle.
After Anucha had been shot, it is reported that both men – who wore helmets throughout the entire incident – sped away on the motorcycle. Police are now said to be examining security camera footage for clues pertaining to the suspected attackers’ identities.
The Nation interviewed Udom’s daughter Rujira Deekrajang, 33, about the incident. She had been setting up her juice stand outside of Lumpinee just prior to the attack. Rujira stated that she believes the assault is related to her father’s role within the Thai boxing community.
“The motive likely stems from my father’s referee duty because he would do that straightforwardly, which also makes him a target of criticism by disgruntled fans,” said Rujira. Investigators told The Nation that they suspect a ‘personal conflict’ or ‘work-related dispute’ may be the reason behind the attack.
The original Lumpinee Boxing Stadium was opened in 1956 in Bangkok’s Pathumwan district. Lumpinee and Rajadamnern Stadium (also in Bangkok) are considered the most prestigious Muay Thai venues in the country. Lumpinee, which is owned by the Royal Thai Army, was moved to its current location in the Bang Khen district in 2015, to accommodate more spectators.
Many fighters who have fought through the ranks in Lumpinee have gone on to star in international kickboxing and MMA promotions, such as GLORY and ONE Championship. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong, a former Lumpinee Stadium welterweight champion, defeated Robin van Roosmalen for the GLORY lightweight championship in 2016. And former Lupinee standout Jenny Huang faced Angela Lee for the ONE Championship atomweight belt a fortnight ago.
Lumpinee is one of the few places in Thailand where gambling is permitted. In his 2016 article Blood, sweat and debt: the slow death of Muay Thai, Tate Zandstra of Southeast Asia Globe chronicled Lumpinee’s gambling scene, including the influence ‘gangsters’ wield inside the stadium over both betting lines and referees.
At this time neither the beating of Udom Deekrajang nor the murder of Anucha Prathumma have been publicly linked to organized crime.